A Letter from Madonna House

Ordinary Miracles

I’ve recently been reflecting on the extraordinary presence of God in the our ordinary lives, little miracles found in the humdrum and the mundane that elude our sight and perception except for when we quiet our hearts and minds and open ourselves up to see the world through the eyes of Christ.

When we are sweeping the floor, or doing the washing up, or even tidying a room, we can join our Lord Jesus Christ who would have done these things growing up in Nazareth and surely would have done them as well during his ministry.

Over the years I have begun to learn of the beauty of labour and work, beginning with the satisfaction of a tidy room, progressing to the comfort of a clean bathroom. On the Madonna House farm in Ontario, Canada, I’ve often helped to clean the pens of sheep and cattle. They were so exited to return to their tidy home that they nearly toppled me over in haste.

When I was a child, I used to resist and resent doing these little, menial and necessary chores as they took time away from my otherwise free weekend. But as I began to mature spiritually, I started to see that God was present in even the mundane necessities of life. Christ can be present to us as we walk the dog or weed the garden, just as he promised: ‘‘Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age’’ Mt 28:20b RSV.

Later on I learned the joy of visiting the sick and the dying at their homes or in the hospital. There is nothing quite like receiving the appreciation of those who long for the solace of a human face in the presence of their loneliness, suffering and pain. In fact our Lord speaks of this in his parable about the sheep and the goats: ‘‘… I was sick and you visited me…’’ Mt 25:35b RSV. The same could also be said of meeting up with an old friend or a new parishioner. We can find ourselves touched by God’s grace in such moments and maybe even discover that we bring Christ to all we meet.

On the farm that I mentioned above, I decided to plant a small garden around one of our buildings. After 3 years I still only managed to grow a few poppies, marigolds and zinnias. Yet despite its small, unimpressive size, people really appreciated the beauty it brought to that little corner of the property. We used those flowers in our chapel and our dinning room. God can use even the smallest act to bring grace, joy, and even wonder to others.

I am very grateful that God is present to us in the normal affaires of every day, since much of our life is lived there. But still I need the eyes of Christ to recognise his grace in these moments, and so I pray to God for His vision to see His hand in all things that come my way, even the ordinary.

By Mathieu Dacquay

Archive Letters from Madonna House

November 2023: The Saints Are Alive By Jeanne Guillemette